How can you tell if you’re a workaholic, or simply a hard-worker?
Workaholism is an addiction that negatively affects your health, personal life and productivity. As with any addiction, workaholics repeat destructive behaviours, knowing them to be destructive. By contrast to a hard-worker, who love their jobs and enjoy going the extra mile, workaholics are people who constantly think about work, and without it feel anxious or depressed.
Being a workaholic can be a serious problem with far-reaching consequences including major health problems including chronic fatigue and depression.
If you’re concerned that you may be addicted to work, ask yourself if these common traits apply to you.
- Are you intense, energetic, competitive and driven?
- Do you have self-doubts?
- Do you prefer work to leisure?
- Will you work anytime, anywhere?
- Do you work in order to reduce feelings of guilt, anxiety or helplessness?
- Do you become stressed if you are prohibited from working?
Although workaholism has been around for a long time, the constantly connected environment of today’s digital world really adds a new dimension to the concept of work addiction. Modern technology gives you the opportunity to work from anywhere at any time, blurring the line between work and leisure. Some bosses even expect their employees to be available on holidays and weekends because, well, they are! All thanks to laptops and smartphones.
Fast-paced and high-pressure work environments mean longer working hours for most people. The inability to detach from work may initially appear to result in increased productivity, but over time productivity decreases and relationships breakdown.
So what can you do if you think you may be becoming a Workaholic?
Therapy and self-help groups are an option if work addiction is a very real and exigent problem for you, but if you’re not yet at that stage, prevention is better than a cure. One of the best courses of action is to develop self-awareness of any tendencies you may have to become a workaholic. Set healthy boundaries, practice disengagement and focus on creating a good work-life balance.
Here’s a list of actions to take now:
- Block out “personal time” to spend with family and (non-work) friends.
- Learn how to delegate work — and learn to say no to new assignments
- Fight the urge that everything you do must be perfect — to your standards.
- Make sure you’re getting a good amount of sleep
- Find a new hobby
- Accept that sometimes it’s ok to sit and do nothing
- Take up a new exercise routine
And remember, if you find yourself unable to do any of these suggestions, consider getting professional help to deal with what could potentially be an addiction.